Read the Labels!

YourVoiceIconPartly due to our history, South African consumers have traditionally been apathetic, ill-informed and had the mistaken belief that someone, somewhere was looking out for their consumer rights and wellbeing. The majority of consumers do not know where their food comes from or how it is produced, often relying on misleading advertising and labelling to make choices.

Consumer participation is vital to grown a conscious and informed consumer voice to bring about true grassroots change in our dysfunctional food system. Thankfully this has begun to change and South African consumers are beginning to take responsibility for their role in our broken food system and to recognize that true change can only happen if they begin to participate and speak out.

 

from Pamela

As a fairly recently conscious consumer, I am daily horrified by the ingredients I read on the labels of the food we buy in our supermarkets. The latest discovery is bleach in sausage. It’s bad enough that our toilet paper, tissues and roller towels are bleached (do we really need everything white?), but to find it in your sausage is enough to banish them from your braai! On the paper note, have you smelled the roller towels that we are supposed to use for soaking up excess oil from fried foods (another no no, but it’s still a long road)? Would you want to eat that?
The thing that really peeves is that there doesn’t appear to be an alternative, unbleached product, without chemicals. Or that it isn’t labelled as smelling gross. We are not given the choice to live the way we want to. Practically everything we put on our food in the way of sauces has genetically modified products such as maize and soy added to it. The fresh food we eat has sometimes been sprayed with pesticides without our general knowledge, so that even this is not what we think it is.
If you try to eat only free range meats and eggs, chances are the animal or fowl has been fed on genetically modified grains, as our government appears to be enamoured of such a policy, despite the rest of the world becoming more and more vociferous against it.
Of great sadness is the sight of shopping trollies filled with non-foods such as processed cereals, chips, pies, sweetened dairy products, cat and dog food with rainbow colours – and not a piece of fruit or bunch of carrots to provide some nutrition – being pushed by women with small children already showing signs of the weight problems that will be the precursor to ill health later in life.
While I appreciate that my point of view regarding nutrition and health need not be adopted by anyone else on the planet, surely it doesn’t make sense that we should accept the poisons that are being dished up to us?

Read more about this Conscious Consumer here.

A Butcher Responds:
“With reference to the “bleaching” of sausage casings:
the use of intestines of pigs, beef, lamb, goat dates back many years – in the cleaning process I saw my late dad using a lot of water and “Milton” (the stuff used by mothers on small babies);
chlorine is most commonly used in the cleaning of the intestines as it still guarantees the killing of the pathogens etc found in the intestines;
once cleaned the intestines are graded and “salted” – cure process to preserve them also very old and still being used today;
the use of peroxide started when the “supermarkets” insisted that they wanted a consistent white casing on the sausages – this is not possible due to the nature of the intestine – can differ in color in one animal and from animal to animal – which apparently is not acceptable to the house-wife?
the alternative would be to use collagen casings – they are not as natural and certainly not as good a casing as the natural ones / intestines.
– its a “murky” subject buy I am sure the amount of bleach used to “whiten” the casings are strictly regulated.

Comment Policy: Please comment on the posts but remember: Personal attacks are not allowed. Respect opposing or differing opinions, beliefs and conclusions. If you disagree, where possible, provide links to support your informed opinion, this also helps others understand your point of view better and with information sharing. Be Nice, Be Respectful.

Sonia Mountford

Sonia Mountford lived as an expat in the Middle East for a number of years and enjoyed travelling and exposure to third and first world cultures. Her interest in food security began while visiting in Sri Lanka after floods and discovering the politics around Food Aid. As a co-founder of Grass Consumer Action and the only full time member, she spent four years researching the dysfunctional food system in South Africa, investigating, questioning and exposing misleading claims. Although her interests range from food politics to toxins in our food, including harmful ingredients in processed foods and Big Food influence; she soon came to realize that the most important part of the food journey begins on farms. For that reason she spends much of her time visiting farms, learning and talking about constraints and concerns in production methods with farmers. Passionate about nutritional food security she believes higher animal welfare farming practices are not only necessary for ethical reasons but also for human health. She is an ambassador for SOIL, BEES and healthy WATER. Mountford started EATegrity (eategrity.co.za) “Helping You Find Integrity in the Food Chain” in 2015. Her aim is create greater consumer awareness about the food chain and to encourage transparency in the South African food industry.

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